It took me a while to decide if I like sharp or blunt tip needles, but I think I’m more of a blunt tip knitter. Once you know what tip style you like best, you can search within a range of brands for ones that have the cords you like.
That said, I like KA brand needles the best of any I’ve ever tried. They are a Japanese brand that are less expensive than Clover but [B]so[/B] much nicer. They are bamboo and the tip on these is less blunt than Clover (I think), but not by much. They also have a really thin and very flexible cord that spins where its connected to the needle. This is a really great feature and I miss it when I knit with something else. They come in several interchangeable sets that have more options than any of the others I researched in my price range. The sets are also expandable. I really can’t recommend them enough. Price-wise, they are more than Knitpicks but cheaper than Clover or Addi.
I just got my set this weekend and it’s like I’m in love. I can’t stop looking at them!
I wanted to mention one other brand that has a great cable and is inexpensive. I think it falls more in the sharp tip category, but maybe its a hybrid because the tip is concave, which helps you catch slipping stitches. Pearls brand is a soft plastic needle with a super soft cord. They used to be called Bryspun and you’ll still see them for sale under both names. They are really inexpensive and you can’t get them in kits, but if you like a sharper tip and soft cable, they are worth a look. There is one big problem with them though, they will form little cracks at the base of the needle where the cord connects. This will endlessly snag yarn unless you file it down. I was able to use a nail file on mine, but I understand not everyone will be cool with that. This only happened to me when they where called Bryspun, but it was very consistent.